By Kabuye Ronald
President Yoweri Museveni has today sworn in members of the Land Inquiry 2017 at a function at State House Entebbe.
This comes weeks after the four time presidential aspirant and opposition strong man Dr. Kizza Besigye and his purported people’s government launched a national lands awareness campaign and rallying Ugandans to desist the amendment of Article of 26 of the land act that talks about land compensation
Besigye also criticized the commission saying its terms of references are not people centered
It should be noted that the President, on December 8, 2016, a ppointed Hon. Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire to chair a seven-member Commission of Inquiry into Effectiveness of Law, Policies and Processes of land Acquisition, Land Administration, Land Management and Land Registration in Uganda – The Land Inquiry 2017.
Appointed under section 1 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, Cap 166, the Commission has a six-month mandate to investigate and inquire into the effectiveness of laws and systems in the land sector and thereafter submit final findings and recommendations. Within three months of its first hearing the Commission shall is required to present an Interim Report to the President.
The Commission is to inquire into the Effectiveness of Law, Policies and Processes of land Acquisition, Land Administration, Land Management and Land Registration in Uganda.
The Commission of Inquiry comprises of the Chairperson and six Commissioners: The Chair: Hon. Justice Lady Catherine Bamugemereire, a sitting Justice of the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court.
Commissioners: Owekitibwa Robert Ssebunya, Mrs. Mary Oduka Ochan, Mrs. Joyce Gunze Habaasa, Dr. Rose Nakayi, Hon. Fred Ruhindi immediate past Attorney General, and Mr. George Bagonza Tinkamanyire.
Mrs. Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya, a Deputy Registrar Planning and Development, is the Commission Secretary, assisted by Dr. Douglas Singiza, a Magistrate and Legal Researcher.
The President further appointed a Kampala-based Leading Advocate, Mr. Ebert Byenkya, as Lead Counsel, assisted by Mr. John Bosco Rujagaata Suuza, a principal state attorney in Attorney General’s Chambers.
Commission’s Terms of Reference:
Investigate and inquire into the law, processes and procedures by which land is administered and registered in Uganda, Investigate and inquire into the role and effectiveness of the Uganda Land Commission (ULC in administering public land and the Land Fund, Investigate, inquire into and review the effectiveness of the relevant bodies in the preservation of wetlands, forests and game reserves and examine ways in which the challenge of human habitation in those areas can be resolved.
Others include to investigate, inquire and solicit views on the role of traditional, cultural and religious institutions who own large tracts of land with occupants in a bid to enhance better landlord/tenant relationships, to assess the legal and policy framework on Government land acquisition,to identify, investigate and inquire into the effectiveness of the dispute resolution mechanisms available to persons involved in land disputes, To inquire into any other matter connected with or incidental to the matters aforesaid and make recommendations, The Commission shall make recommendations:
a. For improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the law, policies and processes of land acquisition, land administration, land management and land registration in Uganda and proposing necessary reforms, Pertaining to civil, administrative and criminal sanctions against persons found culpable for wrong doing.